Riding the waves off the coast of Oahu is not just for surfers. Stand-up paddling is becomi
ng a well loved alternative to surfing for tourists looking for an adventure. Known as stand-up paddling, SUP, paddle surfing, and stand up paddle boarding, this newer water sport is a great way to catch the waves and have a good time on vacation.
Dr. Mark Weiser, a Los Angeles dentist and SUP enthusiast explained SUP to me and it sounds sublimely simple. “It’s a form of surfing where you’re standing up, but you’re using a paddle the whole time.”
This new surfing technique creates an adventure like no other, and is becoming a new favorite sport among those looking for ocean fun and excitement.
Stand-up paddling is much more than just standing on an over-sized surfboard and paddling it like a canoe. “SUPing” is a wonderful way to get a complete workout on the body while enjoying the view of your island resort or coastal surroundings.
“With surfing you sit down, you stand up and ride a wave, but with SUP, you’re working your core the whole time because you’re balancing and paddling the whole time, so it’s more of a workout,” Dr. Weiser says.
Paddling while standing straight up works out the arms and full torso of the body, as these SUPers paddle to push their full body weight across the water, oftentimes work against the current. After a morning of stand-up paddling, don’t be surprised if you feel exhausted and sore, especially if you’ve never tried the sport before.
SUP enthusiasts also enjoy stand-up paddling for the endless possibilities out on the waves. “With the paddle, verses hand paddling, you can be a little further out and catch the waves easier,” Dr. Weiser comments. “I use it as a form of surfing.” Stand-up paddling can be used in the thick of the ocean waves or on calm waters, allowing water enthusiasts to see what they couldn’t while laying on a surf board. They can experience wonderful views of sea life, the horizon, and anything else not normally seen from under the umbrella on the beach.
Getting started with stand-up paddling requires purchasing or renting a board, paddle, possibly a personal flotation device (PFD), and sunscreen if needed. “You can get a used board and paddle for six to eight hundred dollars. It’ll go up to the three thousand range for a custom surf board,” Dr. Weiser says.
It is also important to dress for the weather appropriately before heading to the coast. Wet suits are the norm for any type of water sport as they keep the body insulated and prevent hypothermia, but with stand-up paddling wet suits don’t need to be the only option. “I’m in Southern California so, we only wear wet suits in the winter time,” Dr. Weiser comments. “Otherwise you’re just trunking it because, remember, you’re on top of the water the whole time. You’re not dangling in the water, so you’ll actually be a little warmer.” Clothing such as swim suits or t-shirts and shorts are easier to maneuver in and will not weigh you down if wet.
After renting the equipment and dabbing the sunscreen on your nose, it’s time to hit the
waves and experience the beauty of the ocean while standing right on top of it. But when is the best time to jump into the water, board in hand? SUPers like Dr. Weiser gauge their trips by weather just as surfers do, but because he is standing rather than laying on his stomach he figures the weather factors into his trip a bit
more than it may for surfers. “Afternoons get windy, so it’s a better sport in the morning,” Dr. Weiser says. “You want the water to be smoother and flatter than choppy and windy.”
Stand-up paddling is the experience of a lifetime for those looking for a fun water adventure during their vacations. They can view the ocean in a new light and even feel like they are walking on water at any time, and still catch those awesome waves while making surfers jealous. So get out there and SUP!
Shanna Laub writes for Off-Topic Media. Thanks to Dr. Mark Weiser for sharing with us about his hobby. When he’s not paddling, Dr. Weiser is treating snoring and sleep apnea at on of his two offices in either Santa Barbara or Los Angeles. He can be reached at:
Mark T Weiser DDS
1511 State Street
Santa Barbara, CA 93101